Our favorite cultural moments of 2010: Flash Opera, The Return of the Cultural Flash Mob to Philadelphia
The Canary Promotion staff shares some favorite experiences from the past year. Some are Canary clients; some are not (like this one here).
from Emaleigh Doley, Public Relations + Marketing Manager
I’m a sucker for street performance and cultural displays in unexpected places so it’s no surprise I’m a fan of the flash mob phenom. This year, the Opera Company of Philadelphia set out to engage the public with large-scale impromptu performances, much to the delight of unsuspecting audiences. The opera flash mobs are part of the Random Acts of Culture initiative supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Canary is working with the foundation on the Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia - a separate project.)
In April, visitors to Reading Terminal Market’s Italian festival were treated to a surprise performance of “Brindisi” by the principal cast members of La Traviata. The singers were dressed in plain clothes as patrons of the market, including one singer who belts out his verse holding a fountain soda cup!
What’s particularly neat about the Opera Company’s use of flash mobs is that the company is taking opera out of the traditional theater and into public, modern spaces, singing among the people. It’s extremely rare to be surrounded by opera singers, right?
The Opera Company became a YouTube hit in October when they brought together over 600 choristers to perform at Macy’s in Center City. The singers entered the store posed as shoppers to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ (the world’s largest pipe organ). The video of the performance was posted to YouTube and became a quick hit with over 7 million views as of today. Watch it and you’ll see why…
I hope in 2011, Philadelphia will see even more Random Acts of Culture. The Opera Company is keeping at it, having just surprised Reading Terminal Market eaters with a choral performance from Bizet’s Carmen in early January. Opera for everyone!
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